Dr. Tara RootAssociate Professor Water Analysis Lab ManagerDepartment of GeosciencesFlorida Atlantic Universitytroot@fau.edu

Research Summary

My research interests fall into the following categories 1) water chemistry, 2) groundwater-surface water interactions, and 3) water resources sustainability. My water chemistry research focuses on the use of chemistry as a tool for delineating water flow paths and characterizing surface water-groundwater interactions. I apply a combination of field, laboratory, and modeling techniques to explore the relationships between factors that influence water chemistry including biogeochemistry, geologic setting, and human activities. Another avenue of my research is sustainability of water resources. I am particularly interested in how climate change will impact the water cycle, water availability, and water quality. I also investigate human perceptions of water availability and water quality; the aim of this research is to inform water conservation policy and shed light on factors that affect public trust in the safety of water supplies.

Examples of Ongoing Projects

  • Examining the Relationships Between Socioeconomics and Drinking Water Quality: Identifying Inequities in Palm Beach County, FL

Funded by the Walter and Lalita Janke Innovations in Sustainability Science Research Fund

Student researcher: Meagan Weisner (Geosciences Ph.D. candidate)

  • Development and Application of Methods for Stable Water Isotope Sampling from Low Gradient Canals

Funded by the U.S. Geological Survey

Student researcher: Jesse Greathouse (Geosciences M.S. student)

  • Hydrologic Monitoring at Loxahatchee Slough Natural Area

A collaboration with the Palm Beach County Department of Environmental Resource Management Student researcher: Gino Garlaschi (Geosciences M.S. student)


Selected Publications

(*indicates student author)

Survis, F.D.* and Root, T.L., 2017. The Rain-Watered Lawn: Informing Effective Lawn Watering Behavior. Journal of Environmental Management, 199:109-115.

Survis, F.D.*, Root, T.L., and Pathak, C.S., 2017. Identifying Seasonal Opportunities to Save Water: Using Weekly Rainfall and Evapotranspiration Patterns to Evaluate Outdoor Water Restriction Policy in South Florida. Water Conservation Science and Engineering, 2(4):133-143.

Kuhn, T.* and Root, T.L., 2012. Environmental Controls on the Distribution and Vigor of an Endangered Grass (Panicum abscissum Swallen). Papers of the Applied Geography Conferences, 35:403-411.

Survis, F.D.* and Root, T.L., 2012. Evaluating the Effectiveness of Water Restrictions: A Case Study From Southeast Florida. Journal of Environmental Management, 112:377-383.

Root, T. and F. Survis*, 2012. Human-Climate-Water Interactions in the Context of Managing Florida's Water Supplies. The Florida Geographer, 43:4-16.

Berry, L., Bloetscher, F., Hernández Hammer, N., Koch-Rose, M., Mitsova-Boneva, D., Restrepo, J., Root, T., Teegavarapu, R., 2011: Florida Water Management and Adaptation in the Face of Climate Change: A White Paper on Climate Change and Florida's Water Resources, Florida Climate Change Task Force.

Root, T., Gotkowitz, M., Bahr, J., and Attig, J., 2010. Arsenic Geochemistry and Hydrostratigraphy in Midwestern U.S. Glacial Deposits. Ground Water 48:903-912

Lakhan, S.*, Root, T. and Fadiman, M., 2009. Household Water in Northern Trinidad: Source, Collection, Storage, and Socioeconomics. The Florida Geographer, 40:48-61

Root. T.L., 2008. Arsenic Speciation and Form in a Glacial Aquifer in the Midwestern United States. Papers of the Applied Geography Conferences, 31:25-33.

Root, T.L. and E. Carlson*, 2007. Water Quality and Hydrology of an Environmental Preserve in Palm Beach County, Florida. Papers of the Applied Geography Conferences, 30:457-465.

Root, T.L., J.M. Bahr, and M.B. Gotkowitz, 2005. Controls on arsenic concentrations in groundwater near Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. In: Advances in Arsenic Research: Integration of Experimental and Observation Studies and Implications for Mitigation. P.A. O’Day, D. Vlassopoulos, X. Meng, and L. Benning. ACS Symposium Series, no. 915, pp. 161-174.


Book Reviews

Root, T.L., 2014. Review of Groundwater for the 21st Century: A Primer for Citizens of Planet Earth. Groundwater, 52:647-648.

Root, T.L., 2013. Book Review: Albert C. Hine, Geology History of Florida, Major Events that Formed the Sunshine State. The Florida Geographer 44, 54-55.

Root, T.L., 2013. Book Review: Robert Brinkmann, Florida Sinkholes, Science and Policy. The Florida Geographer 44, 56.


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